the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before
they were at enmity between themselves." Luke 23:12. KJB.
Pilate, Roman Governor of Palestine, and his wife, Ira, were having
we are going to have to do without certain items of food because of
the public unrest. Most of the shops, and the market of farm produce,
are closed in fear." "We'll survive, Ira. The unrest is
temporary. A little phoney, too." "Phoney?"
all centered around one man who the priests and king Herod seem to
have been trying to arrest for months, if not years. Both the priests
and the king seem to not want to take a firm stand against the man,
now that they have him cornered." "What crime has he
committed?" "I don't know, Ira. Definitely nothing against
Rome, or else our Centurion would have arrested him by now. Neither
the king nor the High Priest seem to have enough evidence to hold him
on. They have not brought him to me, yet. I wish they do not."
are the Governor, appointed by Emperor Tiberius himself, Pontius.
Take a stand. Just refuse to get involved. Wash your hands of the
whole matter." "It's complicated tricky skullduggery
politics, Ira. Believe me, I am on the lookout for the first loophole
I can use, to wash my hands of the matter."
you know the unfortunate man's name?" "No. All I know, so
far, is that he is a Nazarite from the Province of Galilee. That's
king Herod's jurisdiction. I might not get involved at all."
paused in her eating, and fixed a look on her husband. He noticed.
"Galilee?" "Yes." "Pontius, I dreamt of it.
Last night." "You dreamt of Galilee? Ira, do you know even
where it is?" "No. I've never heard of it. When I awoke
this morning, I dismissed the dream as just another inexplicable
dream featuring an equally inexplicable word. But when you mentioned
Galilee, I shivered. The dream popped up." "Tell me the
was a dark and stormy night,--" Smiling, softly, teasing, "Ira?"
"But it was, Pontius. A dark and very stormy night, and I was in
a boat at sea with other frightened, crying women."
and took a sip of his beverage, "All right. Where was the boat
going?" "I do not know." "What kind of a boat?
Row boat? Sails?" "That is why it was extra terrifying. The
rain storm water was filling the boat, and there was nobody rowing;
and there were no sails. We were doomed." "If it were my
dream, I would have woken up at that point."
in good humour, defiantly, "All the women stood up, and,
mightily fighting the storm, they walked off out of the boat and
walked toward the shore." "Good for them. Just what
sensible experienced sailor men would do." Triumphantly, "The
boat was so far out, nobody knew where the shore was, Pontius. And
those sensible women walked off on the water. On the water, husband,
dear." A long pause, as Pontius recovers from surprise.
a chastened tone, "That was good, Ira. A step in the right
direction: women walking on water, in defiance of a storm, and toward
the safety of the shore. Why were you terrified?"
I did not join them, Pontius. Because I knew I could not walk on
water. They faded away in the night, screaming at me to join them.
The boat was sinking. And then, for the first time in that violent
storm, lightning flashed over the boat. I saw a naked man walking on
the water toward me."
in pretend seriousness, "A man walking on the water, after women
showed him the way? Excellent, Ira. From better to best." "He
was not walking after the women, Pontius. I said he was walking
towards me." "To save you, of course; the weakest of all
the women." "If he was coming to save me, Pontius, he had a
strange way of showing it. With one hand he was pointing at me, and
in the other hand he was waving a whip at me. He was shouting at me,
blaming me for sinking the boat, and regretting he was obliged to
save me, anyway. Had I been a man, he berated me, he would let me go
down with the boat. I woke up."
ate in silence for a few seconds. "First, Ira, let me assure you
I am eternally thankful you are not a man. Second, I am eternally
thankful that saviour of yours arrived when he did. Third, Ira, that
was not a dream; it was a nightmare. My guess at an explanation is
that I must have mentioned to you at some time that king Herod of
Galilee and I have been at odds for years. This antagonism has
worsened in the last weeks. And now Herod is here in the city on
Royal business. I'm expecting some shenanigans from him, against me,
while he is here. Clearly, my worries have crept into you. The man
with a whip is king Herod. The king is quite capable of trying to
hurt me by hurting you. If you believe there is warning in your
nightmare, I suggest you do not leave this home until this matter
with the High Priest, the king, and I has been completely resolved."
is easy, Pontius. I have no plans to go anywhere." "That
blame part of your nightmare is easily explained. Every year this is
the season of blame among king Herod's people." "Who is
their annual Scapegoat Leviticus festival. Their High Priest blesses
a goat at the altar, blaming it for all the Nation's sins, and then
releases it to take its chances in a Wilderness." "Poor
goat." "Lucky Nation, because once the goat disappears in
the Wilderness, everybody has been cleansed free of sins to start
sinning afresh until the Scapegoat festival the next year."
"Good for them."
one pagan belief I vote Rome should adopt."
ate in silence for a few seconds, enjoying the food, and each in
their deep individual thought.
thought the general explanation of dreams is that they come out of
our own experiences." "I agree." "But, Pontius,
there is nothing in my dream that I have experienced. The boat. The
storm at sea. Women walking on water. A man with a whip." "A
nude man walking towards you."
humorous, "Never yet in my life; not even my husband, sad to
say." They laughed. She tossed a bit of cheese at him; he caught
it in his mouth. The spontaneous flawless precision with which the
shtick was executed by both of them in unison, was the result of
their having done it many times theretofore, at the breakfast table.
as a Roman soldier coming up through the ranks, have experienced most
if not all of your dream, Ira. Before I proposed to you, we soldiers
used to win ourselves girlfriends with narratives about our battle
experiences. There is enough in your dream about my experiences that
can mean your dream-self is trying to help me cope. So very truly
romantic." There was a silence during which they smiled tenderly
at each other.
what started this animosity between you and the king?" "It's
always been the same, Ira. Wherever we Romans conquer, the leaders of
the conquered people resent us. It has been worse here in Palestine
because when king Herod's father saw he would be defeated by Rome, he
surrendered without a fight. Emperor Augustus Caesar allowed Herod to
keep his kingdom within the Empire, the first time ever that was done
in the Empire. That first king Herod showed his gratitude by making
sure his Palestinian subjects did not give the Roman Governors like
me, any trouble at all. But his son is beginning to play a dangerous
game. Here and there, like now, he is allowing his citizens to
challenge Roman authority. He is being reckless. And--." In
sudden worry, Ira looked at her husband. "And what, Pontius?"
know why your dream-self is jumping in there, willing to take on my
troubles in these particularly stressful times."
"You mean there is another reason after my undying love for you,
husband?" "A reason that exists from long before we fell in
love. I remember your telling me of how happy you and a number of
other young girls were when your Village surrendered to us Romans
without a fight. Do you remember?"
yes, I remember, Pontius. Every day since then. I remember. You
Romans were our saviors from an ancient tradition of marrying young
girls to men two-three times their age."
was a knock on the front door. "I'll get that." "Ira,
in these times, let me. You go bring me my sword."
stood up and turned to go to the door, while Ira hurried off out of
the kitchen, through another door. He was standing at the front door
when Ira brought his sword to him. He took it, and held it, point
down, at his side. She hurried away. He waited for her to have left
the room. He called out to whomever was at the door. "Who is
Excellency, a Royal messenger with an invitation from his Majesty,
king Herod, requesting your Excellency attend the celebration of the
Scapegoat Leviticus festival at his Majesty's table."
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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